Beef exports totaled 89,482 metric tons (mt) in March, up 3 percent from a year ago and pushing first-quarter volume to 254,986 mt – up 2 percent. March export value was $483.3 million, down 8 percent from a year ago but the highest since December. For the first quarter, export value was $1.36 billion – down 13 percent from the same period last year.
March exports of both U.S. beef and pork increased year-over-year in volume, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). March export values were lower than a year ago but trended upward, with both reaching a 2016 high.
March pork exports were the largest in 11 months at 195,898 mt, up 3 percent year-over-year. First-quarter exports reached 534,321 mt, up 2 percent. March export value ($480.4 million) was down 3 percent from a year ago but the highest since May 2015. First-quarter export value totaled $1.3 billion, 9 percent below last year’s pace.
“Exports showed an encouraging level of improvement in March, especially to our key Asian markets,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “The U.S. pork industry is now better positioned to capitalize on strong demand in China. Pork exports to Japan were also higher, though we are still in a very tough battle for market share as Japan’s imports from Europe increased at a faster pace. On the beef side, exports continued to perform well in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. So while U.S. exports continue to recover from a down year in 2015, volumes are on track for improvement in most markets this year.”
Pork exports to China fuel growth in March